What is Your Blood Type? Many Koreans Believe It Determines Your Personality
That’s right – Koreans are descendants of blood-sucking vampires and they want to make sure your blood is compatible with theirs before they stick their fangs in your neck! Nope, of course it was a lame joke. The fact is that many Korean people (a whopping 75%)[i] have a strong belief in the idea that blood type is closely related to personality traits and they would go as far as stereotyping people according to the blood type. If you go on a blind date, the chances are very high that you will be asked what your blood type is, so make sure to know your blood type beforehand. While many will just laugh it off and say they are just doing it for fun’s sake, some are really serious about it.
Ok then, let’s take a close look at the story behind it. Originally, it is believed to have all started when a Japanese professor named Takeji Furukawa published his paper titled “The Study of Temperament Through Blood Type” in 1927. Although it was largely regarded as non-scientific due to his lack of credentials, the idea must have been very intriguing because it quickly gained popularity. (Of course, it was the Germans who discovered blood types for the first time in 1901 and the Nazis perverted the results to bolster their propaganda of German supremacy over the Jews, but we won’t talk about that here)[ii]
In the 1970s, the idea was further amplified with the publication by a Japanese journalist who was an advocate of the professor’s idea. Since then, the idea made its way over to Korea and became a popular belief. Another thing to consider is the fact that all elementary school kids have to go through a mandatory annual student health examination (inclusive of blood type testing), and it must have contributed to the proliferation of this idea, because they are more sensitive about such theory than the kids in other countries who do not know their blood type. (In 2016, The Korean Ministry of Education announced the drop of blood type testing and added geriatric assessment, but it was not because they were worried that too many kids believed in the theory but as an effort to update its outdated test manual.)
All right, that ought to be enough for an introduction so here is the fun part. Below are the descriptions commonly used to illustrate the characteristics of each blood type. Take a good read and compare with your own assessment of yourself to see how (in)accurate they are.
BLOOD TYPE A – THE INTROVERTED PERFECTIONIST
- Find difficulty in expressing emotions or trusting others.
- Quite shy in front of strangers.
- Often called a fundamentalist and a perfectionist.
- Have a strong sense of responsibility at work, and easily gain the trust of the organization.
- Always make plans with extreme caution, but often seen as lacking flexibility.
- Look like a hard worker, but you can be a party animal in disguise.
- Can be quite adventurous when dating.
BLOOD TYPE B – THE CREATIVE AND (TOO) CURIOUS
- Inquisitive/Full of curiosity.
- Have a endless stock of topics for conversation.
- Full of original ideas – Exceptional ability in project planning.
- Have a strong interest in new things and often have trouble focusing.
- Sometimes called inconsistent.
- Prefer working at own pace (freelancer) than in organizational settings.
- Compassionate and tender-hearted – considerate of other’s feelings, but sometimes seen as too nosy.
BLOOD TYPE O – THE COMPETITIVE LEADER
- Personality – Warm-hearted / Behavior – Goal-oriented
- Not bothered by minor obstacles and have the ability to focus on given tasks.
- Strong sense of comradeship, often assume the leadership role within a group.
- Often seen as a romanticist pursuing dreams, but can be surprisingly cool-headed in pressing situations.
- Hate losing and competitive- can be seen as condescending and self-complacent.
BLOOD TYPE AB – THE MYSTERIOUS AMPHIBIAN
- Unpredictable – different characteristics depending on which side of the A&B combination gets ignited.
- Superb ability to adapt to any given situation.
- Objective in making decisions, thus less prone to making mistakes.
- Often seen as someone who is easily led, but also can be wishy-washy.
- Prefer to keep personal life private and do not care much about those of others, either.
So… how accurate are they? The Korean Society of Hematology officially announced that there is absolutely no scientific basis for this belief and personality is a byproduct of environmental factors such as family and education. In fact, many experts say that it should be attributed to what’s known as Barnum effect, the tendency to embrace certain information as true and relevant to oneself. Examples include character assessment tests, horoscopes, tarot reading, and yes, Blood Type-Personality Theory. The similarity between them is that the descriptions provided are so vague, they can be applied to anybody, leading people to falsely believe that the they are actually tailored to their unique circumstances when in fact, they are not. Maybe it’s because our desire for seeking explanations to what happens around us is deeply embedded in our human nature and these are effective tools in alleviating our uncertainties. And of course, you have to factor in the entertainment value they provide – don’t we feel a little better when our horoscope (or a fortune cookie anyone?) says something hopeful?
A bonus story – there is even a compatibility chart between blood types to show how good of a match they are (chemistry). As you might have guessed, a research survey conducted by a matchmaking company concluded it baseless. They closely examined 3,000 couples and found that blood type had no significant impact on the possibility of a couple getting married.[iii]
Well, there you have it. Do you believe the theory? Then you must be blood type B! (sarcasm)
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